Surprise, surprise: Work Opportunity Tax Credits – which aim to help marginalized folks get permanent jobs – too often go to corporations that give such folks temporary work. Which makes it what, class? Corporate welfare! Turns out this is especially true for workers with felonies in their past, which is why we’ve tried to “ban the box” on job applications. Right-wingers will cite this example as YET ANOTHURZ REASONZ TEH GUBMINTZ DOESN’TZ WORKZ!!!!! – even though the Work Opportunity Tax Credit is a right-wing policy prescription from the ‘90s! – while reasonable people will more likely say we ought to at least reform the program.
Ho hum, Pennsylvania Republicans appear to be rallying around their gubernatorial candidate, Doug Mastriano, despite Mr. Mastriano’s long history of being a right-wing extremist. This is not exactly unexpected! I often chide Democrats for their lack of courage, but we shouldn’t underestimate the cowardice of Republican politicians, either. Still, Mr. Shapiro leads by 26 points among independents in one poll, which is the clearest sign that while Democrats should stay on their guard, they shouldn’t panic. I also think (contra at least one GOP operative) that concentrating on abortion and election denialism is a winning combo for Democrats pretty much everywhere this year. People hate having their rights taken away, and independents hate people who can't stop whining about things that happened two years ago already.
When I hear that Arizona and Nevada will probably have their share of Colorado River water cut, and all 40 million Americans who rely on the Colorado will likely face some pain in the near future, I’m reminded that when I was in Arizona over a decade years ago I thought the Colorado River was running awfully low, and that less than a decade before that when I was in Nevada I thought the same thing, though it wasn’t as pronounced. I also thought that maybe running all those fountains at Las Vegas casinos wasn’t such a good idea. I mean, between that and everyone’s drinking and bathing water, the choice should be easy.
3rd District federal judge blocks Utah law barring trans girls from playing on girls’ sports teams, writing that blocking trans girls, but not cis girls, from sports teams represents “plainly unfavorable treatment.” Sadly, Utah still “vets” transgender athletes by “evaluat(ing) a player's wingspan, weight, and height – and whether a player is taking hormone blockers – to determine if a transgender girl, in particular, might have an unfair advantage in a sport by being born male,” which isn’t just creepy, it’s stupid. One player with a wider-than-expected wingspan for her age automatically spells victory, as if no opponent could possibly strategize around her? Gosh, too many people want to win before they even play anymore.
Our Federal Aviation Administration (or FAA) certifies a switchblade flying car (so named because the wings could fit under the car’s chassis) as airworthy, meaning it’s ready for test flights. I’ll admit flying cars have always intrigued me, and not just because I don't ever want to sit in a traffic jam again again. Many regulatory obstacles remain, and of course the proper attitude toward those obstacles isn’t DITCH ALLZ TEH REGULASHUNZ!!!!! but “let’s make a flying car that’s safe on both ground and air.” After that, it’ll take a long, long time for regular folks to be able to afford a flying car – unless gajillionaires buy up the corporations that make it, in which we’ll never be able to afford it.
Finally, some very good news: our FDA has greenlighted over-the-counter hearing aids, which could be in stores as early as October. The most expensive OTC hearing aids will cost a little less than one-eighth as much as prescription hearing aids, which most health insurers, private and public, don’t cover (you remember Sinemanchin being on the wrong side of that policy discussion last year too, right?), and while even $300 (for the cheapest OTC hearing aid) is a lot of money, more folks will be able to get them – not least because they’ll be dealing with the pharmacists who are both more plentiful and more accessible than audiologists. One also hopes they’ll eventually come down in price and help break the hearing aid monopolies. But again, if billionaires buy them up, all those bets are off.